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Oak Brook family law mediation attorneyGetting divorced involves much more than deciding not to be married anymore. Most divorcing couples will need to address several issues before they can finalize their divorce and officially end their marriage. Spouses will need to decide how to divide their jointly held property and debts. Parents must create a parenting plan that describes the parenting time schedule and other important child-related concerns. Some couples will need to address spousal maintenance or alimony. One option for reaching an agreement about divorce issues such as these is family law mediation.

Advantages of Using Mediation to Resolve Your Divorce

Some couples voluntarily attend family law mediation to discuss divorce issues. Other couples are required to attend mediation by the court. During mediation, the mediator helps the couple negotiate the unresolved divorce issues and find common ground. The mediator uses his or her dispute resolution skills to deescalate emotional conversations and help the couple discuss difficult topics calmly and productively. The mediator’s ultimate goal is to help the couple reach a mutually beneficial agreement on the terms of their divorce so that they can avoid taking the case to litigation.

Limitations of Using Mediation to Resolve Divorce Issues

Mediation can be a great way to discuss divorce issues and reach an agreement. However, mediation is not without its limitations. Mediation alone may be insufficient if a divorcing couple is contending with:

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Elmhurst family law attorney for postnuptial agreementsA prenuptial agreement is a contract that spouses sign before getting married that describes property rights, differentiates marital property from separate property, and defines a spouse’s entitlement to spousal maintenance or alimony. Most adults are familiar with prenuptial agreements. However, fewer are familiar with the benefits offered by postnuptial agreements. If you are already married, a postnuptial agreement or “postnup” can provide you with the opportunity to gain the legal protections offered by a prenuptial agreement.

Provisions Typically Included in an Illinois Postnuptial Agreement

The issues addressed in a postnuptial agreement are often similar to those addressed in a prenuptial agreement. The main difference is that a postnuptial agreement is signed after the couple is married. Postnuptial agreements typically address:

  • How property and debt will be allocated to the spouses if the couple gets divorced

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Oak Brook divorce attorney for litigation and trialsWhen a couple decides to divorce, they do not simply agree to end their marriage and walk away. They must address various legal issues, including asset and debt division, child custody, spousal support, and child support. These issues often become contentious. If spouses disagree on the terms of the divorce and cannot reach an agreement via alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation, the case may go to litigation. If you are planning to divorce, and you suspect that disagreements will arise, it is important to know what is involved in divorce litigation.

Resolving Divorce Issues Through the Court

Divorce dissolves a legal partnership, so every divorce involves a certain amount of court involvement. If a couple can reach an agreement on how to divide their property, assign parental responsibilities and parenting time, and resolve other divorce-related issues, the court involvement may be minimal. The couple must submit their agreements to the court and, unless there are major issues or the agreements are unconscionable, the court will approve the agreements. These agreements then become legally binding.

If the couple cannot reach an agreement about one or more issues, they will need to turn to various legal processes to reach a resolution. At this point, the case is said to be in litigation. The attorneys will gather evidence to use to support the spouses’ claims through a formal fact-finding process called discovery. This often involves “interrogatories” or formal written questions that a spouse is required by law to answer honestly.  Requests for production are another discovery tool that may be used to obtain financial documents such as tax returns or retirement account statements. Discovery may also involve “depositions,” which are formal interviews that take place under oath.

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